MIPSE Seminar

Plasma Medicine: Mechanisms of Direct Non-Thermal Plasma Interaction with Living Tissue

Professor Alexander FridmanDrexel University.

This talk will focus on the achievements of the Drexel Plasma Institute in direct application
of plasmas in medicine and on understanding the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms of
the direct non-thermal plasma interaction with living tissue. Engineering research has resulted in
many advances in healthcare. Ionizing radiation and lasers are examples of technological breakthroughs
that created new diagnostics and treatments for disease. Similarly, non-thermal plasma
based medical technologies will also have important therapeutic effects and result in new medical
diagnostic tools. Some of these include deactivating pathogens, stopping bleeding without damaging
healthy tissue, promoting wound healing and treating cancer. Recent advances in controlled
non-thermal plasma systems together with discoveries of intense, but non-damaging, direct treatment
of living tissues with non-thermal plasmas in open air, have enabled formation of a revolutionary
new branch of engineering medicine – Plasma Medicine. The success of Plasma Medicine
will depend on a deeper fundamental understanding of the physics, chemistry and biology of
plasma/living tissue interaction as well as the development of plasma based medical instruments.
The use of plasmas in medicine has precedents. Thermal plasmas are used for cauterization,
tissue ablation and tissue cutting where living tissue is destroyed by the plasma’s heat. Nonthermal
plasmas have greater flexibility and can produce more subtle non-lethal effects permitting
substantial selectivity in its treatment of different types of living organisms, cells and tissues and of
sterilizing temperature sensitive medical instruments and implants. Non-thermal plasmas offer
these capabilities by catalyzing specific biochemical activity in living tissues and organisms. This
activity can be adjusted by tuning plasma properties including the amount and identify of radicals,
electronically excited molecules and atoms, charges and UV radiation. The talk will cover optimal
discharge configurations and the non-thermal plasma regimes which are effective in healing but
non-damaging healthy tissue, especially on the DNA level.
Alexander Fridman, is the Nyheim Chair Professor and director of the Drexel Plasma Institute
at Drexel University. During his 37 year career in plasma science, he has worked and taught
in the USA, Russia and France, authored 6 books and over 500 journal publications, and advised
more than 20 Ph.D. students. He has received many awards, including the Kaplan Distinguished
Professorship, Soros Distinguished Professorship, DuPont Award for Outstanding Achievements in
Chemistry, Chernobyl Award, Kurchatov Gold Medal for Life Achievements in Science and Technology,
and the USSR State Prize (with Nobel Prize laureate N.G. Basov). Dr. Fridman cofounded
the field of Plasma Medicine and is President of the Intl. Society for Plasma Medicine.

Sponsored by

Michigan Institute for Plasma Science and Engineering